The Wise Women

Gina Sorell. HarperCollins, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-311184-4

Sorell (Mothers and Other Strangers) returns with a layered story of New York City’s gentrifying outer boroughs and an advice columnist who tries to help her two grown daughters. Wendy Wise’s younger daughter, Clementine, learns her husband lied about purchasing the house they’ve been renting, and that he put her money into a beverage start-up. Shocked, she sends him packing, but soon faces eviction, which she worries will uproot their anxious six-year-old son. Her older sister, Barb, an architect who’s fought to add an art space to a luxury condo building in Brooklyn, worries her girlfriend might be cheating on her. Meanwhile, Wendy hasn’t told her daughters she’s been let go from her magazine, nor that she’s remarried and moved from Manhattan to a Florida retirement community. But sensing she’s needed, Wendy returns to help her daughters, hoping the gesture will help alleviate their long-held resentments of her for remarrying (and divorcing) so soon after the death of their father. Spurred on by a somewhat contrived set of coincidences, they try to figure where Clementine’s husband went and how to get the money back. Sorell does a fine job describing neighborhood tensions and the city’s real estate scene, though the story wraps up a bit too neatly. This gets the job done, but its pleasures are fleeting. Agent: Mollie Glick, CAA. (Apr.)
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